Hospitality Managers: Teach P&L Skills

This year SHS has been in analytics mode, employing a professional researcher to study a variety of topics that affect hiring in the hospitality verticals we serve. (What can I say? We’re curious.) One piece of the research included the analysis of over 500 job postings to gather objective data on the attributes sought most by leaders in hotels, restaurants, catering, foodservice, and private clubs.

One thing we found: “P&L Management Skills” was very high in frequency, listed as a requirement in over 85% of the job postings. As you can see on the chart below, the ability to use the profit and loss statement as a tool to drive sales and maximize profit is highly sought-after even in positions such as Sous Chef and Catering Manager. How are these early-stage managers learning P&L Skills?

From you.

Your industry needs you to transfer your hospitality-specific financial acumen to the next generation. Taking the time to develop your managers on hospitality financials and accounting skills will result in the following:

  • You empower that manager to greater success which should lead to a more fulfilled life
  • You run a more financially-sound operation
  • You create an internal pipeline of highly-developed talent, ready for promotion within your own organization
  • You enhance your capacity to delegate important tasks, making space in your schedule for bigger-picture leadership objectives

Here are a few tips on how you can add P&L Skills development into your schedule with the least interruption to your routine.

Plan the Skills You Will Teach

Tailor a list to your own business and organization. Consider which are most important, and which need to be taught in sequence. Be sure to discuss how each area of responsibility relates to the P&L, and how your company uses technology and apps in the hospitality accounting process.

Here’s an example list:

  1. Physical Inventory
  2. Item Costing
  3. Theoretical Food/Beverage Costing
  4. Purchasing, Inventory, and the Importance of Cash Flow
  5. Scheduling
  6. Budgeting & Forecasting (Sales, Occupancy, Prime Costs)
  7. Food/Beverage/Labor Cost Analysis After P&L Review
  8. Definition of P&L Line Items
  9. Tie Together Forecasting & Costing to P&L Review
  10. Reinforce Day-to-Day Operations Management Strategies to Achieve Budgeted Sales and Costs

Have Them Watch

Deliberately schedule your trainee to work during the times you perform these hospitality accounting and administrative functions. Start by having your trainee watch you perform while you explain what you are doing.

Let Them Drive

After one or two observation sessions, switch seats. Let the trainee take the lead while you watch them do the work. Coach every step of the way, and affirm them when they get it right.

Give Them the Wheel

After a few sessions when you have watched them and coached them, let them fly solo. Be sure to review their work before they are finished to ensure all procedures have been accurately followed.


Once your trainee has successfully acquired the skill, add the task to their regular schedule. Continue to monitor their work to ensure your standards are met.


Whether it’s a share of the bonus for achieving budgeted sales or costs or a different form of tangible reward, be sure to recognize your trainee’s success with more than a pat on the back. If appropriate within your culture, praise them publicly, issue a certificate of achievement, award with a pin for their uniform, or find another creative way to designate their newly-achieved skills.

Our industry needs Managers and Chefs who are as business-savvy as they are creative and hospitable. Teaching P&L Skills will empower our next generation of leaders, and earn you a place in their life as an unforgettable mentor.

The mission of Strategic Hospitality Search (SHS) is to partner with our clients throughout the US to create cultures of excellence and to enhance the careers of our candidates.  SHS provides expert talent acquisition and consulting services, empowering clients to develop a more aligned work environment resulting in increased profitability and amplified innovation.  To learn why hospitality leaders and entrepreneurs call on SHS When Talent Matters Most, visit

Joseph D’Alessandro

About Joseph D’Alessandro

Joseph spent 15 years in leadership positions in hospitality operations before becoming a full-time executive recruiter in 2000. Joseph founded SHS in 2002 and has grown the business from a one-person outfit to a full team of dedicated experts.


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